About us

Our vision is thriving, inclusive and self-reliant communities in Northern Malawi that are able to transform their own futures.

Our Aims

At the heart of our organisation is a community-led approach to development, making sure that everything we do is developed in partnership with the people we support. We want to help communities achieve self-reliance, so our projects provide sustainable, long-term training to become independent.

To do that, we have to work with trust and integrity, with a team of staff and volunteers who we can rely on. This also means always operating with professionalism, using the skills, experience, and local knowledge acquired since we started.

Where we work

We work in the Nkhata Bay North area of northern Malawi, one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest countries in the world. Nkhata Bay North is a very remote and mountainous region area on the edge of Lake Malawi, home to around 55,000 people. The region is extremely isolated and as a result, receives little government help from the government or other NGOs. 

Some of the main problems facing communities are:

  • a chronic shortage of food, often with periods of starvation
  • high rates of HIV and AIDS
  • limited access to basic education
  • deforestation, which causes flooding and displacement
  • only one hospital in the region, which lacks fundamental equipment, staff and medicine
  • very few roads and limited access to transport
  • limited employment opportunities

To address these problems we have learnt that a holistic, rather than narrow, approach is the most effective way to help the most vulnerable households improve their situation. This allows us to support communities to identify the root causes and interlinked nature of the challenges they face.

This is why we run programmes across several sectors, often simultaneously in the same village. We want to ensure that vulnerability in one area of a person’s life does not undermine their progress in another.

History

Temwa was founded in 2003 by our Managing Director, Jo Hook, and Sophie Guise. The friends were running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote town on the lakeshore from 1999 to 2000.

During their time at the lodge, Jo and Sophie’s close friend and colleague, Lotti Nkhwazi, sadly died after developing AIDS. Lotti had little access to healthcare before his death and had been supporting his extended family, including 15 children, through his income. To grow enough food to feed 15 children, let alone find money for secondary school fees, was an extremely difficult task, and his death had a dramatic impact on his family’s fortunes.

Dr Kalua, the Dr at the Usisya Health Centre said the story of Lotti’s family was common throughout families in Malawi. Seeing first-hand the challenging conditions that so many Malawians face on a daily basis, inspired Jo and Sophie to do something about it. 

They returned to the UK in 2000, where they spent the following three years fundraising and researching how best to support people like Lotti and  remote communities in Northern Malawi, who were severely affected by the HIV & AIDS pandemic and the AIDS orphan crisis. With that, Temwa was born, and officially launched as a charity in 2003.

Our key achievements

From initially supporting a small community of 2,000, we have continued to grow, and today work with around 55,000 people. Since Temwa began we have: 
  • Trained over 5,200 farmers in sustainable farming practices and building climate resilience to help increase household income.
  • Tested over 31,000 people for HIV and supported those that are HIV positive through our counselling service.
  • Helped over 1,200  school children improve their literacy.
  • Supported 100 children through 5 years of secondary school.
  • Planted 1.5 million trees to help combat climate change whilst helping community members develop forest friendly livelihoods.
  • Helped 7,900 men, women and children access safe, clean water and hygiene education.
  • Distributed more than 1,300 microloans to small business entrepreneurs.

Read more about our achievements in  Annual Report and Accounts

Strategic Plan

Temwa’s Strategic Plan 2021 – 2031

Our strategy to 2031 is aimed at fully achieving our vision of self-reliant communities that no longer need Temwa’s support. 

Our Principles

We are community driven. All the decisions we make are guided by the communities we serve. Communities decide what they need. We work with them to support the emergence of self-leadership and collective action.

We work towards self-reliance. We work to help communities realise long-term self-reliance, so that they can develop and thrive beyond our support.

We are committed to sustainable development, to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means protecting and improving the natural resources that communities depend on.

We believe in inclusive communities. This means valuing and incorporating the contributions of all members, regardless of age, gender, health or wealth. We work to ensure that the benefits of development are shared by all, leaving no-one behind.

Our relationships are built on integrity, openness, mutual accountability and professionalism. Our donors, partners, communities and staff can depend on our commitment to these values.

Implementing Temwa’s Community Driven Approach

We want to work towards fully achieving our vision of self-reliant communities that no longer need Temwa’s support.
A key part of this approach is strengthening local governance. We support collective engagement with local governance to help community members to see its value and purpose and to increase accountability. We will also directly build the skills of the local governance structures, so that they operate in line with their mandate and are able to lead on implementing their locally owned development plans.

Read more about this in Temwa’s strategic plan 2021-2031 here.

Annual Reports and Accounts

You can read about our achievements in our annual reports and accounts from 2015 to 2020 below. If you wish to see annual reports from before 2015, please get in contact with our team, who will be happy to assist.

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